Monday, August 15, 2011

Brandywine River Museum

Tucked onto the bank of the leisurely
Brandywine River is a gem of an art museum.
The Brandywine River Museum features the
works and collections of the Wyeth family.

Andrew Wyeth,(July 12, 1917 – January 16, 2009),
was a local artist from the
Chadd's Ford area.
He painted what he knew...
.the things around him.
It is likely because of his popularity
that this museum exists in this
location today.

As we approached the museum
the enormity of the building
struck us.
It is a beautiful brick structure with all windows
closed tightly with gorgeous wooden shutters.
Inside you discover three floors of galleries.
They are spaciously laid out and the
environment is one of
quiet respect and appreciation.

Unfortunately for this post
there was a no photography
rule in the galleries.
I would have wanted to show you
some very interesting pieces.
Well, I thought they were
interesting. As is the case with art,
it is subjective.
What I loved may have caused you
to shake your head.

Andrew Wyeth was introduced
to the world of art by his very talented
father, N.C. Wyeth.
I was not familiar with his work
until seeing it here.
 N.C. was an illustrator.
This museum holds his original paintings
of illustrations for the book,
Treasure Island, which was published in the
early 1900's.
He also did many other
illustrations and magazine covers.
Seeing the original works was interesting
in part because of the immense
size of them.
It was hard to get an idea
of scale in the galleries, the
rooms are so big,
but these paintings were huge.
They were framed in a
rough pine frame to protect
them in shipping and then sent to the publishers.
In a world of computers and scanners
this would be considered primitive
today but has a certain charm about it,
don't you think?

Andrew had a son named Jamie,
born in 1946,
who also enjoys the gift
 of putting paint to canvas.
He is not really a "people person" though, 
by his own admission. 
He loves farm animals, though.
Pigs are particularly of interest to him.
On one occasion he was painting a huge pig
when he stepped away for a moment.
Upon his return his paint tubes were quite missing.
He figures there were 22 or so...of quite 
toxic paint.  Later the farmer wondered about 
colorful excrement from the pig...but Jamie never 
said a word.  He was just happy, beyond words 
that the pig lived since the paints were so deadly.

Now, not to shock the Wyeth Folks I must 
admit that Warren and I found one particular gallery
to be the most fascinating.
It was the still life gallery....
It is hard to describe what captured our attention here
but various artists shared their gifts of
illusion painting.
One in particular took our breath away and 
sadly I cannot remember the artist's name at the moment.
It was a painting that looked exactly like a photo
taped to a paper.
You would never have guessed that it was an 
oil painting....I've never seen oil used in such a fine
and detailed way.  We stood and stared at this 
piece for the longest time.

Finally after exhausting our visual senses we headed out of doors
to the path which ran along the river.
It was a humid day....ripe for a downpour
but the walk was nice in any case.

The stonework fascinated me...

Pieces of brick poking through.....

Paying homage to Jamie Wyeth's love of the pig.
Somebody has to love them, right?

When I was a girl I would visit my best friend's farmette.
They had pigs.  My favorite time to visit was just after the 
birth of piglets.  They were such friendly and fun critters 
to visit.  So I can almost understand the attraction for this artist.


Warren and I found this museum fascinating for different reasons.
He enjoyed checking out the strategically placed sprinkler system, 
designed to preserve the art if it should go off.

I greatly enjoyed the art.

I think in time I can win him over to the wonder of art.
However, if not, I think he will indulge me a few more
times if I want to wander a gallery here or there.

I highly recommend this museum if you are in 
the Brandywine Valley.
It is relatively inexpensive at $10 per person.
Given that you'll likely spend a couple of hours here
it is a great value.

Thanks for visiting today.
I am going to get back to real life now and begin a deep 
cleaning of my kitchen and dining room.

Reviewing the memories of beautiful 
and fascinating art
in my head as I work.


Vee said...

Do you mean to say that not only must I share whoopie pies with you, I must also share artists with you? I thought that the Wyeths were a Maine institution. :D

What a beautiful location for an art lush and green and the stonework so very Pennsylvania.

Buttercup said...

One of my favorite places. The Brandywine valley is so lovely. I am long overdue for a visit. Thanks for taking me back!

JD said...

Oh Becky, I so loved this post! Brought back some wonderful memories for me. I also highly recommend this place. Jim and I visited there about 3 or 4 years ago, We arrived early in the morning when they first opened and stayed till they closed. Never thought we would spend that much time there. We explored every floor of the gallery, walked on the same path that you did, and also took the side tour on the tram to go visit his orginial art studio. We were there on a beautiful day so we really enjoyed exploring the grounds around the museum, and taking photos, You took many more than we did, and of course, yours are much nicer. Thanks so much for sharing.

Vickie said...

Being an artist, I'm overcome with extreme jealousy that you're so close to the Wyeth Museum. I'm familiar with their work, and I'd love to see it some day. It's a looooooong way from Texas, but who knows! Beautiful area - Brandywine... Even a beautiful name! You keep dragging Warren with you to art museums - he may soak up some "culture" yet! Thanks for the tour!

Kelly said...

Sounds like an interesting place to visit. As for the pigs, my mother is a pig fan, and did you know that pigs, when kept indoors, are quite clean and are quite smart? It's true.